Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Forgot My Glasses…And Other Things A Patient Doesn't Want To Hear

I had to go into the transplant lab for some blood work this week. While I was there, I overheard Phlebotomist A tell Phlebotomist B that this would be a tough day since she had forgotten her glasses. I immediately gave a silent but earnest “thank you” to the man upstairs for ensuring that phlebotomist B drew my blood that day. Can you imagine a half-blind woman poking around trying to find your veins? Yikes.

I forget a lot of things – I’ve even gotten all the way to my car in the morning without switching from slippers to work shoes (which incidentally wouldn’t be a problem for one of my dear friends at work, ahem) – but I have never gone to the office without my glasses. When you check the clock to see how late you’re running (an important part of my routine), wouldn’t you notice if the numbers were completely blurry? Let’s all just cross our fingers that this woman takes the train to and from work…

Anyway, after that experience, I started thinking about other things I would rather not have heard from medical professionals. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

“This is going to pinch a little bit.” This phrase is typically uttered by my cardiologists at the beginning of each biopsy procedure, right before a giant needle is inserted into my neck or groin area. Let’s be clear – a little pinch is far from how I would describe the sensation that follows. However, I have to admit this phrase is far preferable to the old “you may feel a little pain.” When the word pain is used by a physician, something BAD is about to happen. As in, your chest is about to be cracked open and will hurt like all hell for several days.

“You’re a fall risk.” This is a favorite of the nurses in my hospital and probably in a lot of hospitals. The phrase itself, while somewhat demoralizing (especially to a previously quite coordinated and competent twenty-something), is not so bad in its own right. However, its implications are less benign. For example, being a fall risk sometimes means a bed alarm will be set, so that if you try to get out of bed, the alarm will go off. What’s really fun is when you toss and turn endlessly (a frequent occurrence in hospitals) and cause the alarm to erroneously scream when you are finally somewhere close to sleep.

Another fun part of being a fall risk is you must be accompanied to the bathroom. If the “bathroom” is actually a bedside commode, which is frequently the case, the nurse will often remain in the room while you attempt to do your business. As you might imagine, this is extremely awkward. The only thing that makes it worse is when the added pressure of catching (literally) a stool sample is involved. Talk about stage fright.

I’ll leave you with a final favorite from when I was first sick back in October of 2009. Let me preface this with the fact that the nurse involved ended up becoming my absolute favorite nurse EVER – this was my only less-than-perfect experience with her. Having my first Foley (pee pee) catheter “installed” was one of the most uncomfortable (not physically painful, just creepy and yucky) feelings I’ve experienced. Contrary to what you humanitarians might have thought, catheters are often inserted while patients are wide awake. I remember extremely little from those first few days in the hospital, but I remember the Foley installation quite clearly – it made a lasting impression! This was already an undignified moment, to say the least. Then I heard, “oops, I put it in the wrong hole.” In her defense, I don’t think she’d had holes to choose among in a while…not too many females spend a lot of time in the CCU!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Heart Walk 2010

I’ll keep this short and sweet – the pictures tell a better story than I could anyway! Thanks to MANY friends and family members, I was able to raise $3320 for the American Heart Association (and that’s before any company matching programs)! Our team of 10.5 (ten adults and a baby) crossed that finish line with no problem! My sneaky mom even came into town and surprised me at the walk! It was pretty great to get that 5k walk under my belt – now I look forward to a 5k run. Probably WAY forward, but I’ll get there. So far I’ve jogged four minutes in a single work out, two minutes consecutively.

Thank you again to all of the generous donors and a HUGE thank you to Team Andrea:

Mom – VP, Surprise
Marguerite – Fashion Director & Surprise Coordinator
Chris – Manager, Halloween Hair
Breezy – Director of Photography
Nick – Senior Assistant to the Photographer & Chauffeur (for better or worse)
Karin – Manager, Team Spirit
Marion – Manager, Entertainment
Kara – Manager of Two Below Team Members
Sean – Manager of Four Letter Words
Ryan – Cutest Team Mascot Ever